Strictly‘s dance-off on Sunday night was one of the most talked about moments of the weekend, as former JLS star Aston Merrigold and professional dancer Janette Manrara were booted off the show in a shock dance-off against ex Saturday’s star Mollie King and her dance partner AJ Pritchard.
Many viewers have been left in uproar over their exit, with many claiming that head judge Shirley Ballas’ final decision was bound to be a ‘fix’.
Giving her verdict, Shirley said: “Well again I have a very difficult choice, two fantastic couples and it’s very difficult to do.”
However, Craig Revel Horwood slammed fans who branded him as responsible for their exit after giving the pair a ‘4’. He stated that Aston should have secured more public votes, rather than relying on the judging panel to secure his place in the competition.
One viewer tweeted: ‘It Takes Two must be embarrassing for @CraigRevHorwood & @ShirleyBallas to watch. Final contenders gone over Mollie. Ridiculous’ before Craig responded with ”Did YOU vote for him?’
Fans flooded to Twitter to discuss Aston’s shock departure. One user wrote: Beginning to question all reality phone in voting polls… are they a fix or what?”
Whilst another added: “What a farce! Anyone who believes the Strictly voting is naive. Just a fix! Tell us the public voting figures,”
A third viewer agreed: “Totally ruined tonight. Strictly appears to be a comedy show and total fix rather than a dancing competition. Shame on the buffoons.”
Since leaving the show, Aston has admitted that he is ‘gutted’ to be the latest evictee. Posting to his fans on Instagram, he wrote: ‘Ok so lemme do this properly!! @bbcstrictly thank you so much for letting me be apart of such a great year I’ve made some amazing new homies!! Class of 17 you are all f***ing brilliant can’t wait for our catch up night out.. good luck to you all!!’
He added: ‘Every single person that commented, posted, voted every week thank you so much for the love and chance to do what I love to do most… ENTERTAIN!!
‘All you strictly pros.. you are all ridiculously talented and I’ve loved watching and learning from you all.’
He then went on to thank his professional dance partner for supporting him throughout the experience: ‘The biggest shout out and thank you to my dance partner @jmanrara also known as the Latin sensation!’
‘You have made this whole experience perfect! From AMAZING routines every week, to fun and help in rehearsals, to being a great friend from it take 2 to chill time with team45!”‘
Talking on the Strictly weekday spin-off show It Takes Two, Mollie King said she was devestated to have been up against Aston in the dance-off: “It felt like a real lose-lose situation, because to be in the bottom two with Aston, he shouldn’t have been there.” she said.
“I’ve known him for nearly 10 years, I didn’t want him to go but I didn’t want to go, and that’s why it was a really emotional weekend.”
However Mollie stated she is receiving a great deal of support from her professional dance partner to keep getting better each week: “AJ is amazing he’s just like, ‘Keep dancing keep dancing’,” she added. “It was the best dance, my favourite dance we’ve done so far.”
Despite her stumble during Saturday’s performance, she continued: “We loved every minute up there, even though I tripped him up,”, before AJ added: “You had a little mistake, it happens to the best of us, but what’s important is you picked yourself up.”
Many viewers of the show were left gobsmacked that Loose Women and This Morning presenter Ruth Langsford and partner Anton Du Beke sailed through to the next week, despite falling over at the end of their performance.
One viewer described the occasion as an ‘absolute farce’, whilst another pleaded that people needed to vote for ‘talent and not laughs’. One viewer tweeted: “I like Ruth but she’s had her stint that’s enough now she’s had a good run! Come on ppl vote for talent not laughs!!”
Another said: “What a f***ing joke! May have to boycott now. I thought it was a talent show. Obviously still a popularity contest.”
Whilst another agreed: “ABSOLUTE FARCE!!! How are Ruth & Susan still there? Yes they’re entertaining but now we’re losing good dancers! Happens every year”
Appearing on yesterday’s episode ofThis Morning, Aston and Janette discussed their feelings about leaving the show so early on in the competition.
Talking to Holly and Phil on the sofa, Aston said: “I’m honestly gutted, but you just have to take it on the chin.
“It’s such a brilliant show and I said from day one if I have to leave, I’m happy I got the chance to do it in the first place.” Discussing his shocking score from Craig, he continued: “When we got the four I laughed. I was like, ‘Is that a four?’
“To me, it didn’t even feel as bad as that. It was just the shock of it.”
Janette, on the other hand, seemed far from impressed with Craig’s decision, stating his score was “really harsh”, before adding: “Everyone is entitled to an opinion, those scores are the judges’ opinions.
“I don’t agree at all with the score, but you have to respect his opinion, his number and thoughts and take it as it comes.”
Whilst many fans have been left devastated by the result, others are questioning why the pair are failing to “get over it”, with one branding him as a “sore loser”.
#ThisMorning Aston sounds likes a sore loser, Ruth&Anton r not as good but r liked. u proved why your gone, "who can win now I'm gone"!Loser
— Doug quaid (@Dougquaid8) November 7, 2017
That Aston and Janette interview on #ThisMorning sums up exactly why they didn't get public support over likes of Ruth, Susan.
— Ryan JL (@RyanJL) November 7, 2017
Reports suggest that Aston approached Shirley after she had cast her decision, which made things “awkward” for her and claimed he hoped the judges hadn’t delibarely given him low marks due to his dancing ability.
Whilst sat next to Aston on the sofa, Janette confirmed she had already planned a number of dances, including the Charleston and jive to perform in the coming weeks.
Holly suggested: “You should put all the dances you were going to do on YouTube. Everyone would want to see them!” as Janette nodded, admitting that the pair had already discussed this as their new venture.
Aston also confirmed he is going to be opening his own dance school following his Strictly success.